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NEWS STREAM

Two Journalists Killed In Syria; Poor Afghanistan Villages Face Harsh Winter; Florida Man Shot by Mother-In-Law In Custody Dispute; Tibetan Refugees Fear Growing Chinese Influence On Nepal

Aired February 22, 2012 - 8:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

And we begin in Syria where the shelling of Homs claims more victims, including journalist Mary Colvin and photographer Remi Ochlik.

Clashes break out in Kabul as Afghans protest the burning of Korans by U.S. troops.

And as Tibetans mark their new year, we'll look at situation for Tibetan refugees in Nepal.

The relentless siege of the Syrian city of Homs continues to claim more lives. And among those killed today in fierce shelling were two journalists: award-winning correspondent Mari Colvin, a veteran of many wars; and 28-year-old French photographer Remi Ochlik.

Their deaths came amid what activists say was the heaviest shelling in more than two weeks on Tuesday. And an opposition group says 106 people were killed across Syria including 45 in Homs and 55 in Idlib.

The apparently aftermath of the constant bombardment is shown here in this YouTube video. And you can see a fire raging in the Homs neighborhood of Bab Amr. Now CNN can't verify the video's authenticity. The Syrian government continues to blame armed terrorists for the attacks.

Now some of the most disturbing images to come out of Homs are those of injured and dying children. A video posted on YouTube on Tuesday shows a father mourning his baby son.

And this report by Nick Paton-Walsh contains very graphic footage that viewers may find disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of the many infants to die in Homs, few have had their deaths so awfully public. This two-year-old, killed by shrapnel, shells still heard falling around him and his father.

No one could tell us his name, but another clip shot earlier shows the frustration of doctors unable to deal with the injury under the young boy's arm. The images are graphic. The doctor clearly feeling powerless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This child needs to go to a proper hospital. Even the children are not allowed to get there. Where is the Red Cross that was negotiating yesterday?

PATON-WALSH: He struggles to breathe. They move to resuscitate, but fail.

Shelling Tuesday in Homs was the worst yet. Children caught in this barrage and its devastation suffering the hardest.

DR. UNNI KRISHNAN, HEAD OF DISASTER RESPONSE, PLAN INTERNATIONAL: Children are particularly vulnerable in armed conflict situations. Many of them are separated from their families. They often lose their parents. And conflicts leave lasting impacts on (inaudible) physically and emotionally.

PATON-WALSH: Some will survive their injuries. Yet in this horror, many should have, but did not.

Nick Paton-Walsh, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOATAPE)

LU STOUT: The tragic death of that baby boy in Nick's report was witnessed by the Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin who was killed today in Homs. She described the incident as horrific and heartbreaking.

Anderson Cooper spoke to her on the phone on Tuesday night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A reporter was in the room when the child died. Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times of London who joins us now from Homs.

Marie, to be in that room, this young baby passing. And we've seen many children killed in this conflict, but it just -- I mean, to be there, what was that like?

MARIE COLVIN, SUNDAY TIMES: Well it's very chaotic room, but the baby's death was just heartbreaking possibly because it was so quiet. One of the first (inaudible) of course was the grandmother had been helping completely coincidentally helping in the emergency room and just started shouting that's my grandson. Where did you find him?

And then the doctor said, there's nothing we could do and we just watched this little boy, you know, his little tummy heaving and heaving as he tried to breathe.

It was horrific, just -- I mean, my heart broke.

COOPER: Do we know how the child died? How he was wounded?

COLVIN: They know -- there's been constant shelling in the city. So, Anderson, I have to say it's just one of many stories. His house was hit by a shell. He -- another member of his family -- chaos here, so another member of his family arrived later, but after he had died and said the house had been -- the second floor had been hit. And this little boy, obviously, was just one piece of shrapnel that caught him right in the chest.

COOPER: You know, there are some who are going to see those images and say we shouldn't show those images. That it's too much. And, you know, we discuss this all the time. Why is it important do you think to see these images? Why is it important for you to be there? Right now, you may be one of the only western journalists in Homs. Our team has just left.

COLVIN: Yes. I mean, I had a discussion with your people, Anderson. I feel very strongly that they should be shown. Something like that I think is actually stronger for an audience -- you know, for someone who is not here, for an audience for which the conflict, any conflict, is very far away. But that's the reality. This is -- these are 28,000 civilians: men, women, and children hiding, being shelled -- just senseless.

That little baby is one of two children who died today. One of children being injured every day.

That baby probably will move more people to think what is going? And why is no one stopping this murder in Homs that is happening every day?

COOPER: The regime in Syria claims that they are not hitting civilians, that there is no armed conflict, that there is no war inside Syria that they're basically going after terrorist gangs.

COLVIN: Every civilian house on the street has been hit. We're talking about -- you know, this is a very kind of poor, popular neighborhood. The top floor of the building I'm in has been hit. In fact, totally destroyed.

There are no military targets here. There is the Free Syrian Army heavily outnumbered and out gunned. And they have only Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades. But they don't have a base.

There are more young men being killed. And you see a lot of teenage young men, but they're going out to try to just help get the wounded to some kind of medical treatment.

So -- it's a complete and utter lie that they're going after terrorists. There are rocket shells, tank shells, anti-aircraft being fired in parallel line into the city. The Syrian army is simply shelling the city of cold, starving civilians.

COOPER: Thank you for using the word lie. I think a lot of people would want to thank you because it's a word we'd often hear. It's not often used, but it's the truth in this case. The Syrian regime, their representatives, have continued to lie. They've lied on this program to us directly.

Marie, I mean you have covered a lot of conflicts over a long time. How does this compare?

COLVIN: This is the worst, Anderson, for many reasons. The last one -- I mean, I think the last time we talked when I was in Misrata. It's probably personal safety I guess. There's nowhere to run. The Syrian army is holding the perimeter. And there's just far more ordinance being poured into this city and no way of predicting where it's going to land. Plus, there's a lot of snipers on the high buildings surrounding the Bab Amr neighborhood. You can sort of figure out where a sniper is, but you can't figure out where a shell is going to land.

And just the terror of the people and, you know, the helplessness of these families hiding on the first floor. All they can do is hope it doesn't hit them. That's very, very difficult to watch.

COOPER: And in terms of supplies -- medicine, food?

COLVIN: Running low. Medicine, there is -- there is essentially almost none. The only painkillers at the hospital are perisetimol (ph) and ibuprofen, you know, just kind of normal painkillers we would use for a cold or something, or a headache. There's operations going on with just that as anesthetic, because the hospitals here -- anyone who is shot, or has a shrapnel wound, is arrested or disappears. So they are being held. Anyone badly wounded is smuggled across to Lebanon.

There's -- I mean, they don't even have rubber gloves. The rubber gloves that the doctors -- that the medical staff is wearing, the rubber gloves are ripped. There's won doctor, one dentist, and a vet treating the wounded. I mean, that's the kind of medical care there is.

COOPER: Marie Colvin, I know it's impossible to stay safe, but please try. Thank you for talking to us.

COLVIN: Thanks very much, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Marie Colvin with a gripping report from inside Homs just hours before her death.

Let's speak to Nick Paton-Walsh who joins me now love from Beirut, Lebanon. And Nick, Marie Colvin, Remi Ochlik, they were killed along with many others today. What has been the reaction to their deaths?

PATON-WALSH: Well, obviously in the media community absolutely consternation, shock, and sadness. I mean, I joined British newspapers 15 years ago when Marie was already a legend of sorts. And since then, had moved on to cover Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya as you mentioned, and more recently of course Syria. A huge figure whose name above an ask who would guarantee it was going to be one of the most eloquent reports you could possibly imagine from the place where she was. But quite outstanding loss, certainly, amongst the media community here.

And quite separate to that, I'm sure Marie would want people to mention and keep mentioning the fact that 19 people have died in Homs today as well as her and her French colleague. Tragic news, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And the situation inside Homs, what are the dangers for reporters, and especially for the people, the civilians still caught up in all the violence?

PATON-WALSH: As she said, it's just constant shelling. There's a constant artillery barrage. The worst yet, yesterday appears to have been contributing towards her death.

I should read for a statement from her employer, the Sunday Times, paying tribute. Definitely clear and suggesting that she was killed whilst covering the devastating bombardment by the Syrian army of Homs. They go on to pay tribute to her by saying, "Marie was an extraordinary figure in the life of the Sunday Times, driven by a passion to cover wars and the belief that what she did mattered. She believed profoundly that reporting could curtail the excesses of brutal regimes and make the international community take notice."

Now of course in the days ahead, we have a meeting in Tunisia, of the Friends of Syria. People today appealing for the Red Cross, humanitarian workers to be given access to this region, Bab Amr in Homs bearing the brunt of the artillery shelling over the past days. But as it stands at the moment there's been very little actual practical movement on the ground to get help to the injured. And more importantly right now, take the injured inside Bab Amr out, including some western journalists, Kristie.

LU STOUT: And do you think what happened today, the death -- the killing of Marie Colvin, Remi Ochlik and others, could this be a turning point in the Syrian crisis, could it somehow spark finally some meaningful international action to help the people of Syria?

PATON-WALSH: I think clearly the publicity, something like this rings to the specific instant may have some kind of impact, but at this point we've been looking at months and weeks of diplomacy here at the United Nations and elsewhere which have not resulted in any key international intervention from this despite the pleas from activists inside the city. There are suggestions, perhaps, that U.S. officials are contemplating some kind of action in the future. There have been repeated calls for humanitarian aid. Turkey had a plan over a week ago which appears to have subsided. The UN has discussed this at length. But when it comes to the actual practical act of opening a corridor into Bab Amr and Homs to deliver humanitarian aid and get those injured out, that's something at the end of the day the Syrian army, who is busy shelling that area, are going to have to have a say in -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Nick Paton-Walsh on the story for us. Thank you.

Now ahead here on News Stream, the U.S. warns of more violence in Afghanistan as anger erupts over the burning of copies of the Koran. We'll have a live update from Kabul.

And the pain of austerity. Greeks prepare to rally against the government as it braces for a possible vote on widespread budget cuts.

And the Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd resigns. Many suspect he will launch a leadership challenge against Prime Minister Julie Gillard. The details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Blood on the streets and U.S. embassy on lock down. Now these were the scenes in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday as protests over the burning of copies of the Koran by U.S. forces entered a second day.

Five demonstrators were killed and several others wounded as violent clashes erupted in two major cities. Hundreds took to the streets of Kabul forcing the American embassy to shut down and suspend all travel.

Now elsewhere, stones were thrown at a U.S. military base. In Jalalabad, angry crowds gathered chanting down with America.

The U.S. has warned that there are likely to be more protests in the coming days. And since violence could be directed at western targets.

Now U.S. officials says the Korans were among religious materials removed from a detention center because of concerns that militants were using them to pass messages. Now the U.S. has apologized for the burning and launched an investigation.

Now for a closer look at the situation on the ground I'm joined by journalist Ben Farmer live from Kabul. And Ben, more violent protests again today. What's the latest? What have you seen?

BEN FARMER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these protests have been much more violent than yesterday's protests. There have been at least five or six separate protests across the country, hundreds of people have been involved. As we reach the end of the day, we've got a death toll of six people killed and more than 30 wounded.

In several cases, police have had to open fire into crowds and above crowds to try and keep...

LU STOUT: OK, unfortunately we've lost the connection with Ben Farmer there on the ground in Kabul of the protests and clashes over the burning of the copies of the Koran on a U.S. air base there. We'll try to reestablish that connection with you. Our apologize.

Now in fact, I believe we have Ben Farmer back on the line. Ben, our apologize there. You were just telling us what you witnessed earlier today, the violent protests in Kabul and elsewhere.

FARMER: Yes. We've seen six dead in Afghanistan and up to 30 wounded. The biggest protests were in Kabul in the eastern city of Jalalabad and close to the base north of Kabul where four people were killed by a local militia as part of a protest.

LU STOUT: Also, I'm trying to understand more about the incident that sparked all this. Given the sensitivity that was already well known, why were copies of the Koran burned at a U.S. air base? Why did this happen?

FARMER: Well, the senior NATO commander has said it was a terrible mistake. What seems to have happened is these religious texts and Korans were taken from a prison library. Bagram Airbase has the biggest American run prison in the country. And it seems that they were being used to smuggle messages between inmates.

When this was spotted, the Korans and the texts were taken for disposal. But the mistake was made that they were taken to a burn pit to be incinerated. Afghan workers then saw them being burned, raised the alarm. They tried to put out the Korans. But as soon as they finished their shift, they went out to the surrounding villages, spread the word, and...

LU STOUT: OK, our apologize yet again. A very patchy line there with Ben Farmer. But that was Ben Farmer reporting on the line there from Kabul. Thank you, Ben.

Now for more information on the demonstrations in Afghanistan just log on to CNN's belief blog. And there you'll find more analysis on the burning of the Koran including the thoughts of a leading Islamist scholar. Just go to CNN.com/beliefblog.

Now to Greece now and it's a country very much divided at the moment. Now on one side, the government which says a nightmare has been avoided with approval of a second financial. Now the other, the Greeks, form a deeply unhappy with widespread cuts to jobs, wages, and services.

Now as we speak, union leaders are planning protests outside the Greek parliament in Athens where politicians are preparing for another vote on a package of austerity measures. Now the government needs to approve the measures to secure the bailout funds.

Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd has resigned amid speculation he may challenge prime minister Julia Gillard for leadership of the governing Labor Party. He made the announcement at a late night news conference in Washington with rumors circulating at home that he was about to be sacked. Now Rudd served as Australia's prime minister from 2007 until 2010 when he was ousted by Ms. Gillard.

Now a showdown could take place next week when Parliament resumes.

Coming up next here on News Stream, some Tibetans in Nepal say they are living in fear as China extends its economic embrace with the tiny country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Coming to you live from a misty Hong Kong. You're back watching News Stream.

Now this year Tibetans around the world are marking their traditional new year known as Losar in a quiet and solemn way. Tibetan government in exile asked them to refrain from celebrations to show solidarity with those it says are suffering under Chinese rule.

But Chinese state media show that some of the country's 5 million Tibetans living inside China did observe the occasion. This video from CCTV shows villagers in Sichuan Province dressed in their holiday best, singing and performing a traditional dance around a bonfire.

Now those scenes come amid reports of growing protests over Chinese rule. According to the Washington based international campaign for Tibet 22 monks, nuns and other Tibetans set themselves on fire in the past year. Now many Tibetans live outside of China, with a significant population living in Nepal. Now traditionally India has had the biggest influence there, but China's influence is growing. It recently doubled annual aid to the Himalayan nation and is building a railway linking the countries as well as desperately needed roads.

Now as China becomes a bigger factor in Nepal, some Tibetan refugees say they are being squeezed. Sara Sidner reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tibetans gather for morning prayers in Kathmandu. For decades, Nepal has been a safe haven for Tibetans who escaped China. But Tibetan activists say their people's peaceful existence here is being disturbed because of China's growing influence in Nepal.

Nepali born Tibetans (inaudible) says she is overwhelmed with frustration over how she says Tibetans are now being treated in Nepal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Since China has given Nepal a lot of money, Nepali government doesn't let Tibetans do much of anything. They don't let us gather to mourn or protest. They even pick up Tibetans while they're walking on the street and send them to jail.

SIDNER: In her home, she worships the Dalai Lama. Outside her home, she speaks her mind on issues involving Tibet. And she's paid a price for it. This is a picture of her in the green headband at a Tibetan protest in Nepal in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Since 2008, I went to jail many times. 30 times at least.

SIDNER: 30 times?

She has lived here all her life and says things began changing for the worse for Tibetans in 2008. That was the year of the uprising in Tibet and across the world which embarrassed China as it prepared to host the Olympics.

We traveled to the Nepal-China border where trade is the main order of business. Nepali citizens freely travel to China. And as we found out, the Chinese freely cross into Nepal too, but to enforce their rules on Nepal's territory.

These men were not wearing uniforms when they approached us but spoke to one another in Chinese.

Why no (inaudible)? Why? Why?

You can see that the Nepali police are actually fine with us shooting, but the people from China are trying to stop us from shooting and we're still standing on Nepal's territory. And this is what the Tibetans say they are doing to them, they're reaching over into the territory of Nepal to try -- stop it. Stop it. There's no reason to get violent, sir.

The Nepali home ministry declined to comment on issues involving Tibet. But one border police inspector who did not want to be identified told us above all else, China's main interest in Nepal is the Tibetan issue. Which for more than 20 years has been governed by an informal agreement between the Nepali government and the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

The current representative in Nepal says the government has not rescinded that agreement. Still, the numbers of Tibetans coming to Nepal has declined dramatically since 2008.

STEPHANE JAQUEMET, UNHCR REPRESENTATIVE: Between 2,000 and 3,000 in the late 90s and the early 2000s. And now it has been 800 for the last three or four years.

SIDNER: OK.

Is -- why is that? I mean, is there a specific reason that this is happening, that the numbers are shrinking?

JAQUEMET: It's hard to -- hard to say.

SIDNER: But Tibetan refugees say the answer is easy. They claim China is exerting pressure on Nepal so that it is no longer a place of refuge for those trying to escape Chinese rule.

Sara Sidner, CNN, on the Nepal-China border.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: In a briefing in Beijing in Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman reiterated China's position on Tibet and Nepal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HONG LEI, FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Nepal sticks to the one China policy and regards Tibet as an inseparable part of China. We will not allow any party to conduct anti-China policies in Nepal. China appreciates that. China believes and hopes that Nepal will continue to adhere to that commitment in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: And Nepal's prime minister denies that there is a crackdown on refugees or their rights in his country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BABURAM BHATTARAI, PRIME MINISTER OF NEPAL: The thing is, offered into international law we protect the genuine human rights of the refugees. But we can't allow any anti-China or anti-India activity from our soil. So we are conscious of that.

Are they refugee? Are they refugee? You are not supposed to (inaudible) this is the international law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: You're watching CNN News Stream. We'll be back after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream and these are your world headlines.

Now the United States has locked down its embassy in Kabul amid violent protests over the burning of Korans in a NATO base in Afghanistan. Angry protesters took to the streets in various parts of the country, throwing rocks and burning tires. Now the U.S. has apologized for the burning, saying the religious materials were removed from a detention center and shouldn't have been burned.

Now Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd has resigned. He made the announcement at a late night news conference in Washington. The Australian media are speculating that Rudd may challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the leadership of the governing Labor Party.

In New Zealand, an estimated 60,000 people gathered to mark one year since the Christchurch earthquake. 185 people died in the 6.3 magnitude quake, mostly done in the rubble of just one building. Thousands of after shocks since then have hampered recovery efforts.

Activists say 22 people have been killed in Syria so far this Wednesday. Among them, two western journalists. They've been named as Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Rami Ochlik.

Now the growing death toll in Homs underlines the heightened violence and mounting desperation in that city. Now Syrian activist Wissam Tarif is in contact with many people inside Homs. He joins us now live from our Beirut bureau. And thank you very much for joining us here on CNN.

As the shelling drags on in Homs, civilians are still trapped there after over three weeks of fighting. What do they need?

WISSAM TARIF, SYRIAN ACTIVIST: At this moment there are three foreign -- foreigner journalists who are injured. They are basically bleeding to death. There are two journalists who have been killed. There is an evacuation, a process that has been taken place for the last two hours. We have been calling on the Syrian regime and on the militarized group in Homs for a cease-fire.

There is an urgent need to allow international body, in particular Red Cross, to access the city to evacuate the injured people, not only the journalists but the other injured who are in hospitals.

The situation we have to keep in mind that what was bombarded and shelled this morning is a media center connected to (inaudible) hospital. There is a big number of injured people right now in Bab Amr. They have been denied access to medical care. There are no ambulances or no professional medical staff helping these people.

There must be a cease-fire at this stage where medical aid, the Red Cross is allowed access to the city and to evacuate the injured without further delay.

Those three journalists and a lot of Syrian activists who are there are basically bleeding to death while we are speaking.

This is an urgent matter. Ambulances should have been inside in the last six hours, six hours ago, not now.

LU STOUT: Wissam Tarif, you are making an urgent call for a cease- fire for ambulances to shuttle out the wounded from Bab Amr as well as access for the Red Cross. In addition to medical care, what about food, water, other necessities. What do the people of Bab Amr and other neighborhoods in Homs, what do they desperately need right now?

TARIF: Unfortunately it's not only Homs. The crackdown extended into different areas. We're talking about Idlib, we're talking about Hama, we're talking about Zabadani, about Zimbaya, about different areas in Damascus suburbs. We have to visualize cities have no electricity for months now. The infrastructure even to deliver to homes, portable water have been totally destroyed.

Syria is heading toward a humanitarian crisis. We have had calls and appeals from people for baby formula, for bread, for water. This is turning into a humanitarian crisis. But this crisis has to be managed by priorities. At this stage Bab Amr is a priority because there are people bleeding on the ground as we speak.

Nevertheless, in Zabadani and in Mubaya (ph) as well in Damascus suburbs last night we have documented 182 people who were kidnapped and taken from -- and for an unknown destination. We know for a fact that today the Syrian regime has killed 27 people, including seven activists who (inaudible) who work with them closely. And they were doing the very simple mission. They were trained to get into Bab Amr to deliver medical supplies.

This level of brutality is something that I haven't ever seen in my life. Now these people need instant medical care. The international body, in particular Red Cross, you and agencies need to step in. This can't be denied any longer, because as we speak people are dying. And it's not only in Homs, it's not only in Bab Amr, it's all over the country at this stage.

LU STOUT: You are delivering your message to the UN, to the outside world.

If the Syrian President Bashar al Assad was watching this broadcast right now, what would you say to him?

TARIF: Al Assad still have only one action that he can do if he has the intention to kill less people, and that is to step down. We know that tomorrow in Tunis Friends of Syria are meeting. And those -- these countries that are meeting there should stop complaining and nagging about the legal position, about not seeing a transition plan yet. Those people have been under oppression for the last 40 years.

If there's time for the Friends of Syria -- and by the way, this is the first meeting, international meeting since this has started, that will not be about softening Russia position or China position. They will be actually be talking about Syria.

They have also (inaudible) how the position in working on a transition plan address the minority's fears, give guarantees that Syria in the future will be to all Syrians and (inaudible) Syria's transition and use all means that are required to (inaudible) transition.

Al Assad can still do one thing, is stepping down. This man can't rule Syria any more. He has to leave. That's what I would tell al Assad.

LU STOUT: Wassim Tarif, Syrian activist, joining us live from Beirut. Thank you.

You're watching News Stream. And coming up after the break, we'll take you to the United States live where Republican hopefuls there are prepared to take to the stage. We're going to be looking ahead to the upcoming GOP CNN debate in Arizona.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the brutal winter conditions in Afghanistan continue. Mari Ramos has the latest. She joins us now from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this is an important story because the people in Afghanistan of course have already gone through so much. And on top of the political turmoil that they've had in that country and the poverty, the weather has always been tough. It's brutal in the worse sense of the word here.

I want to start you off first of all showing you the temperatures. Right now in in Kabul, for example, it's minus 3 degrees. That's the actual air temperature and that's not counting or factoring in the wind, because it can get very windy at times. And notice that cold air, that pool of cold air stretches well into the northern half of the country. And of course as you get up into those higher elevations those temperatures drop very, very quickly. So we're dealing, of course, with some extreme winter cold.

Now I want to show you some pictures, because yesterday I was telling you about all of the heavy snow that they've had. Well, it's not cold enough to support snow guess what, they're getting rain. So they went from these drought conditions that they've had for so long to some very heavy rainfall. And that is definitely taking a toll on people's lives here.

You see here a family, a man and a child, trying to take their belongings out of their homes. Remember these are very arid regions, so it doesn't take a lot of rain for it actually to flood.

Neighboring Pakistan, for example, they've had over 22 centimeters of snow. So let's just give you an example, kind of an idea of the kind of snowfall totals that we're seeing around here. And here we're dealing with snowfall as well so when it's not raining, it's snowing.

They've come out of a drought over the autumn months. As they got into the winter, many people did not have enough food. So the World Food Program is distributing food aid in some of those areas to try to help -- try to ease the burden that so many people have.

And I want to show you that we're still expecting snow in extreme northern Pakistan, but back over here -- Afghanistan I should say. Pakistan and northern India have also been getting pummeled by some extremely heavy snowfall as I was telling you. In parts of Pakistan they had over 22 centimeters of snow.

And the snow making machine is back for your across northeastern China. Can you see the map over here? Here's China. Here is Russia. Here is Japan back over here. And there's the Korean peninsula. North Korea still expecting some snow in Northern China. And then back over here toward Japan as well, you can see Hokkaido and Honshu.

Again the avalanche warnings in place across many of these areas.

As far as Beijing and this northeastern corner of China where we really need some moisture, Beijing is going to be very, very close for you whether or not you're going to get any of this moisture, but right now it looks like for the most part you're going to be staying dry, maybe get a couple of snow flakes of here and there in the outskirts of the city, but overall things will stay dry.

Let's go ahead and check out more city forecasts now.

Hey, let's talk about Europe very quickly. A couple of things that are happening here. First of all, we have a big, strong weather system coming in across the northern parts of the country. This is bringing you some very strong winds across these areas. Expect some travel delays. But most of it is coming down in the form of rain. The coldest air is still back over here toward the east. When this begins to more farther to the north and east, that's when you begin to see the snow.

A nice break in between across much of central and western Europe, though. And then this weather system down here still causing some problems across the central Mediterranean.

I want to show you some of the wind that this has been giving us. It's pretty impressive. Over hurricane force in Bonifati in Italy. And then we had wind gusts over 100 kilometers per hour in Palermo. And in Catania, rain pretty significant there. Over 100 millimeters.

And I think this is going to be a significant thing, the rainfall, because remember now it's not cold enough to actually make snow, but there's still a lot of moisture, Kristie, so these areas that were covered in snow you have the snow melting and now you have the heavy rain. So definitely the risk for flooding is definitely there.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right. Thank you for the warning. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

Now the U.S. Republican presidential race, it kicks into higher gear tonight. All four remaining candidates will take part in debate in Arizona. Now the state will hold its primary next Tuesday. It will be the 20th Republican debate of the 2012 nominating campaign.

Now a lot has happened since the last debate almost a month ago. Mitt Romney, he won big in Florida and Nevada. And then Rick Santorum, he recorded a clean sweep of Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.

I want to remind you of the road ahead to election day. Primary season, it continues next week with votes in Arizona, Michigan, followed by Washington state. And then, on March 6th comes the all important Super Tuesday when 10 states will hold votes.

Now the final contest takes place in Utah at the end of June.

And in August, the Republican candidate will be officially nominated at the national convention. The Democrats get their turn in September. And Americans will pick their president on November 6.

Now Rick Santorum is expected to be the center of attention at Wednesday's debate in Arizona. A new poll says he has maintained his lead with Republican voters across the U.S. topping Mitt Romney by 9 percent.

Now CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser joins us now live from Mesa, Arizona. And Paul, could Rick Santorum defeat Mitt Romney in Arizona?

Oh dear, I think we lost Paul. Do you hear me?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: I don't hear a thing.

LU STOUT: All right. We'll try to reconnect there.

Paul Steinhauser there. He's still standing by in Mesa. We'll get back to him in a sec.

Now on the other side of politics, the most powerful man in America, he also took to the microphone, but he did it for a very different reason. Now U.S. President Barack Obama, he became the headline act at a blues concert at the White House. Here's why.

Now the concert featuring music legends BB King and Mick Jagger was recorded for a special broadcast called Red, White and Blues.

And it was actually Mr. Obama's encore performance. And you recall a few weeks ago he's burst into an Al Greene song while attending a campaign fundraiser.

Not a bad performance there. And again we're trying to reconnect with Paul Steinhauser, CNN's political editor in Arizona. When we get him on the line we'll bring him back here on News Stream.

And still to come in the program, captured on camera, a victim uses his mobile phone to record the moment he is shocked. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back to News Stream.

And let's take you back to Arizona ahead of a key GOP debate. And there's some interesting polling numbers now suggesting that Rick Santorum is a few percentage points above Mitt Romney. Our Paul Steinhauser, he is there. He joins us now live from Mesa, Arizona. And Paul, could Rick Santorum defeat Mitt Romney there in Arizona?

STEINHAUSER: Yeah, it could happen, Kristie. And now I can hear you. Before I could not hear you. So now it's a lot easier for us to talk.

Yeah, take a look at this, this is a brand new poll by CNN, Time Magazine, and ORC here in Arizona among people likely to vote in the Republican primary. And look at this, well it's basically a dead heat. There's Mitt Romney just four points ahead of Rick Santorum, but that's within the survey sampling error. So basically all tied up.

A different poll from NBC and Marist that just came out here in Arizona about two hours ago indicates Romney with a bit of a larger lead in the state.

But listen, it's close here. It is close in Michigan as well, that is the other state that votes in six days. That's Mitt Romney's home state where he was born and grew up. His father was governor there. That's why this debate is so important. It's the last -- the last debate before the primaries in six days. And as you mentioned the last one before those 10 states vote on Super Tuesday -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: That's right. This debate coming up next is so critical. Just how critical is it for Mitt Romney?

STEINHAUSER: Oh, so critical. Listen, this is for Mitt Romney a chance to try to bring Rick Santorum down a little bit. Romney was very effective doing that in Florida, remember? Florida happened right after Newt Gingrich won a big victory in South Carolina. And Mitt Romney had to come back in Florida. And in two debates, including one a CNN debate, he was able to kind bring Newt Gingrich down and that led to a big victory by Romney in Florida. He used to do the same thing to Santorum now here in this debate in Arizona. Bring them down so Romney could go on and have victories in Arizona and in Michigan.

Extremely important debate for Romney as well as Santorum and Gingrich. For all of them.

LU STOUT: Yeah, this Republican race, for all of them, has been so fluid up to now. Just how long will the tables turn? Will it be this fluid for months all the way until the nomination?

STEINHAUSER: You know, a lot will be known in the next two weeks. If Mitt Romney stumbles, let's say he loses Michigan which is turning into a make or break state for him, or even here in Arizona, and if -- or if he stumbles on Super Tuesday and some of those 10 states that vote. Well, then that's an indication that this thing, this battle for the Republican presidential nomination here in the U.S. is going to go on for quite some time and there could be a lot more ups and downs to come. If Romney does well next week in the primaries here in Arizona and Michigan and well on Super Tuesday than maybe he can consolidate his support and wrap this thing up in the next month or two.

But time will tell, these next contests are so important and this debate of course just 12 hours from now equally important.

LU STOUT: Well, Paul, enjoy the debate tonight. And we'll continue to follow your analysis on air and online. Paul Steinhauser joining us live from Mesa, Arizona. Do join us for the Arizona Republican presidential debate. John King is moderating Thursday morning 9:00 am here in Hong Kong, 5:00 am in Abu Dhabi right here on CNN.

Now they haven't been a force in Europe since Diego Maradona played for them, but Napoli are back in European football's biggest competition. Let's get the latest now from Alex Thomas -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, they were bankrupt as recently as 2004 and only returned to European competition in 2008, but Napoli are on the verge of a Champion's League quarterfinals after beating Chelsea 3-1.

Chelsea were runners up four seasons ago and took the lead in Italy on Tuesday night before Napoli hit back through their South American strike force, Argentine forward Ezekial Levezzi scoring twice and the other goal came from the Uruguayan international Edinson Cavani. It leaves Chelsea with a mountain to climb in the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Tuesday night's other round of 16 first leg match was Real Madrid away to CSK Moscow. It finished 1-all. The Spanish league leaders seemed to be heading to victory when Christiano Ronaldo put them ahead just before the half hour mark. It could prove to be a vital away goal, because the Russian club equalized in the dying seconds. Real, remember, one all six of their group matches and were trying to become only the second club to record seven Champion's League wins in a row.

Now Jeremy Lin is back in action at Madison Square Garden. (inaudible) to bounce back from Monday's defeat by the Nets when they take on Atlanta. But it's Miami who are the hottest NBA side right now. LeBron James and the Heat going for a seventh straight win against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

Let's pick up the action in the second quarter as King James makes the block at half court pass to Dwayne Wade for the lay-up. Miami opening up an early half-time lead. And the Heat superstars inspired their team to pull away from the Kings in the third and fourth quarters. Wade with the alley-oop pass for LeBron to reverse dunk.

Sacramento fought hard, though. Isaiah Thomas with five 3-pointers, part of his 24 points on the night. That's no mean feat.

But the Heat trio were an even more scorching form, here's Chris Bosh with two of his 20 points and 10 rebounds to go with Wade's 30 points and 10 assists on the night. It's seven wins in a row for Miami.

And that's all the sport for now, Kristie, back to you in Hong Kong.

LU STOUT: Alex, thank you.

And now to the case of a custody dispute, a deadly weapon, and an iPhone. A man in the U.S. state of Florida had a feeling he should film an encounter with his estranged in-laws. As Lisa Sylvester reports, he was right.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The video was chilling. Salvatore Miglino is shot twice, all of it captured on his iPhone.

SALVATORE MIGLINO: I can't believe you did that. I can't believe you did that. What are you crazy? I can't believe you shot me.

SYLVESTER: The alleged shooter is this woman, 66-year-old Cheyl Hepner (ph), Miglino's mother-in-law. Miglino and his wife are in the middle of a nasty divorce and custody battle when he went to pick up his son for a weekly visit last December his son wasn't there, but his mother- in-law was. Now Miglino is finally talking about what happened that day. He shows us where the bullets entered his body.

MIGLINO: The bullet came here and then the bullet came into my arm.

SYLVESTER: After being shot, Miglino says he fell on his mother-in- law and wrestled the gun away from her.

HEPNER: Get off me.

MIGLINO: You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) crazy.

HEPNER: Get off me.

MIGLINO: You shot me.

I was scared. You know, I mean, someone is trying to -- someone is trying to kill me. I had to protect myself if I wanted to live.

SYLVESTER: You may wonder why Miglino turned on his iPhone camera. He says he was bracing for a confrontation. And adds his wife's family members had told lies about him in the past. A smart move when you consider what happened next.

Cheryl Hepner (ph) called 911 and puts the blame on her son-in-law.

HEPNER: Somebody just shot at me.

OPERATOR: And he pulled the gun on you, or you pulled the gun on him?

HEPNER: No, he pulled it on me and he shot it. He drove away.

SYLVESTER: At the same time Miglino was speaking to another dispatcher.

MIGLINO: Oh my god. I'm shot.

OPERATOR: OK.

MIGLINO: I took the gun away from her. I have it.

OPERATOR: Where are you shot?

MIGLINO: On my shoulder and on my side. I can't believe she shot me.

PETER MINEO, SALVATORE'S ATTORNEY: Sal says he has an angel on his shoulder and I have to tell you if he -- had he not turned the way he did quickly enough he would not be here.

SYLVESTOR: Hepner now faces an attempted murder charge. Her attorney issued a statement declining to talk about the specifics of the case, but saying Ms. Hepner is distraught over this incident and the circumstances leading up to it as well as being sorry that Mr. Miglino was shot.

Hepner has a court date set for March 16. Hepner's husband was charged as an accessory, but he died from cancer last month. Investigators are also looking into any role Salvatore Miglino's wife might have had in the incident.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now before we go I want to return to our top story, the violence in Syria claiming the lives of two western journalists. One of them was 28-year-old French photographer Remi Ochlik. And here is some of his work. It won him several awards, including the first prize in this year's World Press Photo contest.

Now Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin was also killed today. She covered conflicts for over 30 years and wore a distinctive eye patch after being wounded in Sri Lanka. The press (inaudible) reports and remarks she made at an event in 2010. And they ended with these words.

"Now journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. And sometimes, they pay the ultimate price."

And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.

END